Make the best ground turkey tacos packed with zesty Southwestern flavor, lean protein, and plenty of veggies. This healthy ground turkey taco meat is ready in one skillet in just 30 minutes. It’s the ultimate make-ahead weeknight recipe!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This saucy turkey taco meat recipe is quick, healthy, and so delicious. Turkey tacos are a staple in our house, and soon to be in yours, too!
How long it takes: have these ground turkey tacos ready in just 30 minutes.
Equipment you’ll need: everything fries up all in one skillet.
Servings: 4

Overhead view of three turkey tacos on a black stone plate next to tortilla chips and salsa.
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Quick and Flavorful Ground Turkey Tacos

I’m sometimes a little hesitant to share my simpler recipes, the ones that I make so often, I could make them with my eyes closed. But these ground turkey tacos are so easy and full of flavor (not to mention healthy) that I know you’ll love them just as much as we do.

My turkey taco meat recipe has seen many, many variations throughout the years. The main ingredients are always there: lean and juicy ground turkey, crisp bell peppers and onions, and my favorite homemade taco seasoning. But tacos are really one of those “clean out the fridge” recipes in our house, with endless ways to make them using ingredients we have on hand.

Of course, we can’t forget toppings. I’ve included all my must-have taco toppings later on in this post, so you can plan the ultimate weeknight meal. I can’t wait for you to try these simple yet amazing turkey tacos!

Ground turkey taco mean in a white bowl, with tacos in the background.

Why You’ll Love This Taco Recipe

There are so many reasons why I’ll always come back to these flavorful and easy turkey tacos. This recipe is:

  • Protein-packed. Ground turkey packs in tons of lean protein while keeping this recipe healthy and light. It’s also super easy to swap in ground beef or go half-and-half if you’d prefer a more traditional taco.
  • Loaded with veggies. I love the flavor and nutrition that diced red peppers and onions add to this recipe. Adding veggies is also an inexpensive way to bulk up your taco meat with fewer added calories.
  • Make-ahead friendly. This recipe makes a generous batch of taco meat, enough to feed a hungry family of four, plus leftovers! You can even double the batch and freeze your extras for easy meal prep. 
The ingredients for ground turkey tacos.

What You’ll Need

Below is a short list of ingredients needed to make savory homemade turkey tacos. Don’t forget to check out the full recipe details in the recipe card below the post.

  • Olive Oil: For sautéing your veggies and turkey meat.
  • Onion and Bell Peppers: I love the flavor and nutrition that diced red peppers and onions add to this recipe. Adding veggies is also an inexpensive way to bulk up your taco meat with fewer added calories.
  • Ground Turkey: These turkey tacos are a great source of lean protein. You can also make this recipe with ground beef or ground chicken, or a combination of ground meats.
  • Flour: Sprinkling all-purpose flour into the taco meat thickens up the sauce.
  • Taco Seasoning: It’s so easy to make your own taco seasoning (highly recommended!), but you can also use your favorite brand of packaged taco seasoning as well. If you’re using store-bought taco seasoning, you can skip adding flour as the pre-packaged seasonings already contain thickeners.
  • Fixings: Everything you need to make your tacos into a meal. Your choice of tortillas, plus toppings like shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, etc. See further on for more ideas and serving suggestions.

What’s the Best Ground Turkey for Tacos?

I recommend using 93% lean ground turkey when making this taco meat. It’s still flavorful and juicy without being overly greasy.

How to Make Turkey Taco Meat

The filling for your flavor-packed turkey tacos comes together in less than 30 minutes in one skillet:

  • Saute the ingredients. First, you’ll saute the ground turkey, onion, and bell peppers in a large skillet with oil. Break up the meat as you go, and give it the occasional stir until the turkey is browned and the veggies are tender.
  • Combine. Now, stir in your taco seasoning along with a sprinkle of flour. Continue to cook off the flour and spices for a minute or two longer, then pour in a bit of water to create the sauce.
  • Cook. Simmer the taco meat on medium-low for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
Overhead view of turkey taco meat in a cast iron skillet with a spoon.

Tips for Success

You really can’t go wrong with these healthy ground turkey tacos. Here are my final tips for a perfect easy dinner:

  • Keep the taco meat warm until serving. You can keep your taco meat simmering at a low temperature on the stove until you’re ready to serve it. Just stir in a bit more water if you find it’s dried out a bit.
  • Scale the recipe. This recipe makes about 4 servings, but feel free to double or even triple the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd, or to store and save for later meals. See below for storing and reheating directions.
Close up of a spoonful of ground turkey taco meat held over more taco meat in a cast iron skillet.

Recipe Variations

It’s easy to change up the ingredients, seasonings, and toppings to suit your family’s tastes. You can make these tacos spicy, mild, or loaded with even more veggies. Here are fun variations to try:

  • Different protein. If you’re not a fan of the ground turkey in this recipe, try these crockpot chicken tacos, crockpot salsa chicken, or Instant Pot carnitas. You can also replace ground turkey with lean ground beef.
  • More vegetables. Sauté diced carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, riced cauliflower, sweet corn, or jalapeños with the ground meat for a spicy kick.
  • Add beans. Stir in cooked black beans or pinto beans.
  • Make it spicy. Up the amount of taco seasoning, or stir in additional cayenne pepper or chili powder for extra heat.
  • Make nachos or taco cups instead. Substitute this taco meat for the beef in beef nachos or use it as the meat filling for taco cups.
  • Try taco turkey burgers for a fun (bun) variation or Mexican spaghetti, if you’re more in the mood for pasta.
Overhead view of a taco night spread including three assembled turkey tacos, a plate of tortilla chips and salsa, and bowls of various taco toppings.

What to Serve with Turkey Tacos

These healthy turkey tacos are a family-favorite dinner. Serve them with a side of air fryer tortilla chips and salsa or butternut squash queso (it’s a must). I’ll also pair my tacos with this zesty cilantro lime rice whenever I need to bulk up the meal.

Make it a Tex-Mex-style feast and serve these lean turkey tacos with cauliflower nachos, a southwestern chopped salad, or this black bean and avocado salad. When I make this with friends, we’ll always wash everything down with a fresh, spicy paloma cocktail. And don’t forget to fill the table with your favorite taco toppings!

Topping Ideas

I’m always adding tacos to our weekly meal plan, so I can have all the fixings for a great taco ready to go. Try these easy taco topping ideas:

Close up of a soft turkey taco topped with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes.

Can I Prepare Taco Meat in Advance?

Yes! This taco meat freezes well. Make a double batch so you have plenty to freeze (see below). Use this turkey taco meat in tacos, nachos, salads, burritos, quesadillas, you name it! It’s super versatile and handy. 

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

I love having leftover turkey tacos in the house. You’re going to want to make a batch (or two) every week to have on hand for lunch, dinner, and beyond. 

  • Fridge. Store leftover cooked turkey taco meat airtight in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat the taco meat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a bit of water added to get it saucy again.
  • Freezer. Cool the fried ground turkey taco meat to room temperature and freeze it in airtight containers or resealable bags for up to 3 months. Thaw your taco meat in the fridge before reheating.
Meal plan 56 preview image with text that reads "budget."

Free Meal Plans

Interested in a weekly meal plan includes this recipe? Take a look at Meal Plan #20 or Meal Plan #56. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week! We add a new meal plan weekly.

More Healthy Turkey Recipes

Recipe

Turkey Tacos

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Make the best turkey taco meat packed with zesty Southwestern flavor, lean protein, and plenty of veggies. These healthy ground turkey tacos are the ultimate make-ahead weeknight recipe!
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion (about ¼ large red onion)
  • ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper (about ½ pepper)
  • 16 oz. ground turkey (93/7) (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (more to taste)
  • cup water (more if needed)
  • Tortillas, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream for serving

Instructions 

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. If you’re using a nonstick skillet, you may not need oil.
  • Add onion, bell peppers, and ground turkey. Cook, breaking up the meat, until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are cooked.
  • Add flour and taco seasoning and stir to combine, continuing to cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until spices are fragrant.
  • Stir in water, and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until water is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes. You can keep this at a low simmer, partially covered, until you’re ready to serve, adding more water if necessary to keep mixture from drying out.

Notes

  • Omit the flour in this recipe if you’re using store-bought taco seasoning. Many packaged taco seasonings already contain thickeners (ours does not).
  • Lean ground beef or a 50/50 combination of beef and turkey can be substituted for the turkey.
  • Makes 2⅔ cups, about 4 servings, ⅔ cup each. Nutrition information is for meat mixture only and does not include tortillas or toppings.
  • Make-Ahead: The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Cool the mixture and store it in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months.
  • Recipe updated 11/30/2022.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 0.66cup, Calories: 223kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 182mg, Potassium: 312mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 784IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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13 Comments

  1. Josie says:

    LOVE tacos, thanks for posting this recipe! Can’t wait to make these and top the tacos off with slices of fresh avocado and some salsa! :)

  2. denise says:

    just need to make sure ground turkey or chicken is from the breast/white meat, otherwise, it’s not healthier than lean ground beef–contains fat, skin, etc…

  3. Catherine says:

    Dear Rachel, This sounds so good…I also love the idea of using shredded chicken for this dish. xo, Catherine

  4. Cassie says:

    I do something very similar for taco meat except I also add a can of diced green chiles. I love the extra flavor and a little heat!

  5. Sues says:

    Great idea! I’m making tacos tonight and am now inspired to health-ify it :)

  6. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I love the sound of this taco meat. I’m always so boring and just make it plain BUT I love the idea of bulking it up with peppers and onions. Plus you know it’s going to be a tasty addition…yum!

  7. Katie @ Mom to Mom Nutrition says:

    I’m a big fan of using lean ground beef for taco meat— but never thought to add extra veg like the bell peppers. DOH! I bet it definitely bumps up the flavor! Can’t wait to try this for our taco night!

  8. Christie says:

    Great idea to incorporate turkey and beef. You still get all the beef flavor but with the healthier turkey too.

  9. Lisa @ Low Carb Yum says:

    I love taco seasoned meat and love this healthy quick recipe. We eat a lot of ground venison so I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. This is perfect. Pinning!

  10. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    Healthy and taco meat in the same sentence? Consider me signed up! I always get apprehensive about sharing “easy” recipes too, but I am so glad you did this one…maybe now my hubs can get the tacos he has been begging me to make ;) Pinned!